Volume. XXV, No. 38
Sunday, 20 March 2011

Missions - Part 1


One of the definitions of  the word “missions” in the Oxford dictionary is “the vocation or calling of a religious organisation, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.”  The origin of the word comes from the mid 16th century (denoting the sending of the Holy Spirit into the world); from Latin missio(n-), from mittere send’.

Below is a brief biography of a missionary to China called Gladys Aylward.

Gladys Aylward  (24 Feb 1902 - 3 Jan 1970)

Gladys Aylward was an evangelical Christian missionary to China.

She was born in a working class family in Edmonton, London. She heard the call to missions when she attended a revival meeting when she was 18, where the preacher spoke about giving one’s life to the service of the Lord. She didn’t excel in school and was turned down by the China Inland Mission because they believed at her advanced age of 28, it would be difficult to learn the Chinese language.  However, she worked and saved enough for a one-way ticket to China.

Her journey before she even set foot in China was one of obstacles and danger. She travelled on the Trans-Siberian Railway and at one point, was kicked off the train as it was used to carry only Russian soldiers.  She arrived in Vladivostok and sailed from there to Japan and from Japan to Tientsin.  Then by train, bus, then mule, she finally arrived in Yangchen, in the mountainous Shanxi Province in China.  The Lord certainly protected her and kept her safe!


There, Gladys and an elderly missionary, Mrs Jeannie Lawson, founded “The Inn of Eighth Happiness”. Yangchen was an overnight stop for mule caravans that carried coal, raw cotton, pots and other goods on long journeys. The muleteers would stop at the inn and have food and a bed at a fair price.  And in the evenings, the two women would tell their guests stories about a Someone named Jesus. This way, the Gospel was proclaimed, and the muleteers would carry the stories they had heard to other stops along their journey. During this time, Gladys also became competent in the Chinese language.

One day, Mrs Lawson suffered a fall, and she died a few days later. Gladys was left to run the inn on her own with the help of a Chinese Christian, Yang, a cook. Around this time, the Mandarin (an official) of Yangchen recruited her as a “foot inspector”.  She seemed to be just right for the job as she was woman and had unbound feet. This meant she would be touring the countryside to enforce the new law against foot binding. And this also gave her the opportunity to spread the Gospel to the villages throughout the region.

As she spent more time in the region and surrounding areas, she became aware of many orphaned and unwanted children and took in a number of them under her care. Her inn became a refuge for wounded soldiers and orphans. She lived frugally and dressed as the Chinese did. She became a regular visitor to the Mandarin of Yangchen. In 1936, Gladys became a Chinese citizen.

In 1938, the region was bombed and invaded by Japanese forces. The Mandarin gathered the survivors and told them to retreat to the mountains.  He also announced that he wanted to become a Christian. Gladys led about 100 children on a trek to Xian, a safer province about 100 miles away. They travelled many days with little food and inadequate clothing. However, God took care of them all throughout their perilous journey. When they finally arrived safely, Gladys collapsed. The doctors were amazed when she recovered. She was suffering from high fever, typhus, pneumonia, malnutrition, exhaustion and had a bullet in her shoulder.

After her recovery, she started a new ministry in Xian. She continued evangelising and helping the poor there and in other regions such as Szechuan and Chengdu. In 1947, the Communist regime had taken control, and Gladys and the other missionaries had to leave China. She decided to return to her native England because she had a burden for the spiritual condition over there. She preached there and was embarrassed to find that she became a celebrity (a book, movie and documentary were made about her). The movie “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” was released and the actress Ingrid Bergman portrayed Gladys. However, she was distressed and “deeply embarrassed by the movie because it was so full of inaccuracies” and regretted that she signed the movie contract with Hollywood.

In 1958, she left for Taiwan and opened another orphanage. And there she remained, serving God, for the rest of her life.

She is buried in a small cemetery on the campus of Christ’s College in Guandu, New Taipei. She was known as “Ai-weh-deh” (Virtuous one) by the Chinese who grew to love and respect her.  Her story is told in a book written by Alan Burgess called “The small woman”.


Reading the biography of Gladys Aylward, I learnt a number of things:

Sometimes though the way is tough, it may be God’s way of preparing us for service. (1 Pet 1:7)

God made us the way we are, and He has a purpose and plan for each one of our lives. (Phil 1:6)

We are to seize opportunities given to us to evangelise and serve Him. (1 Pet 3:15)

We are to have an available and willing heart to be used by God. (2 Tim 2:19-21)

She understood and served in both foreign and domestic missions. (Acts 1:8b)

I praise and thank the Lord that Hope BP Church is a mission-minded church. Our very first mission trip was in the year 2000. There were just 6 of us, and we were apprehensive at our very first scouting” trip.  We had no idea what to expect, but had a willingness to meet with the missionaries there to see if Hope BP Church could help them.

When we arrived, it was a blessing to see missionaries so willing to sacrifice so much to spread the Good News; and to see the Bible students who were willing to study God’s Word to be able to serve Him in the future somehow.  It was a privilege to be able to have the opportunity to tell the Gospel to those who had never heard it and were eager to hear it.  There have been many mission trips there since then.

The most recent mission trip to Batam (Indonesia), still tells us of the need for Christians who are willing to help the missionaries in the spreading of the Gospel, and in the edification and encouragement of the Christians, and to help the poor and needy.

At Hope BP Church, our domestic missions include visitation, Gospel rallies and the Christmas concert, where we have the opportunity to share the Gospel with family and friends.  The Young Adults Fellowship has regular street evangelism in the city and a booth during O-week at the university.  This also gives them a chance to tell others the Good News, to give out tracts, and let people know about our church and what we believe.

I read in a book once, that the question to ask ourselves is not “Should I be a missionary?” but rather “How should I be involved with God’s world mission?”.  The question is now over to you: how willing are you to be involved in God’s Great Commission? (Matt 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8b)

Deaconess Joyce Gong


Batam, what can I say - big, busy and friendly, the experience was a delight. After saying that I would go on this mission, I asked a few questions - like where is it? How big is it? How far in the jungle is it? How dangerous is it?  I think for a first timer these questions were pretty standard. I was quite excited about going to a place where I don\'t know the language and customs, well except to eat and eat again...

The orphanage was quite modern, not what I expected, but the kindergarten was what I thought it would be and it kept me busy for the trip. After putting up the basketball ring and watching the kids play, I knew I was doing the right thing. The smiles and laughter was great. After meeting the workers, we went to work, painting for 3 days - not everyone\'s cup of tea - but in the end, it was worth the effort.  As I said before, the people are friendly and seemed to go out of their way for you and yes, I would do it again and recommend that if you can do anything, no matter how small the experience, is worth the effort.

I thank God for this opportunity and for bringing us all to and fro safely.


Bro Phil Surman

More Lively Hope



* Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Youwen Yeap. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Daniel Volvricht.
*Warm Greetings from Ps Ki & Sis Myung to Hopefuls.
*Due to Session Meeting, there will be no BBK and Gospel of Luke Classes this afternoon. These Classes will resume next Lord’s Day.
*Invites for Gospel Rally on the literature table. Please invite your relatives & friends.
*Family Bible Camp forms still available. All members & worshippers are encouraged to attend.
*Biblical Counselling Workshop - very useful for leaders, Sunday School teachers or any lay persons! All are welcome. This Seminar starts at 7pm. Come early for pizzas at 6 pm.
*Hope Bookstore - Opening Hrs 12:30 - 1:30pm.
*Next week’s Fellowship Lunch is catered. $5 per person. Children under 5 yrs old FREE

Looking Ahead
* Easter Family Bible Camp, 22-25 April.
*25th Anniversary Service, 29 May.
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Qld); Dns Joyce Gong (Adl); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi  Selvanayagam & family (Syd); Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family (Syd/GCoast); Sisters  Xandrea Cai (Adl), Peng Ha Yeo (Melb), Christabelle Selvanayagam (Syd), Clara Sim & Adeline Tan (S’pore); & safety for other travellers.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser;  Elton Law, & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Gillian Ong (Bris), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Margaret Pearson, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Hospital - Sis Susan Varadi in RAH (S8 Bed 3).
3. Cambodia Missions - Khmer pastors & families.
4. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry
5. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa (Filadelfia Church).
6. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry.
7. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
8. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
9. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
10. Ps & Sis  Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
11. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
12. Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Adl); Dn & Mrs Mark Heah (S’pore); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family; Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family; Bros Youwen Yeap (Melb/Adl) & Simon Yeo; Sis Peng Ha Yeo (Adl); & others who are travelling.
13. Job - Bro Raymond Ang; Sisters Clara Sim & Corinne Teng.
14. The Horenung’s ministry in The Philippines.
15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
16. God’s comfort -  Sis Xandrea Cai & others in grief.
17. Postnatal recovery - Sis Ang Liang Phoa
18.  Street-Evangelism - God’s Word to be preached to the people of our city & for their Salvation.  
19. Japan Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear radiation - victims & families. For believers affected.
20. Sunday School teachers - help with preparation
21. Gospel Rally - Speaker: Bro Jason Tan; organisers, participants & Salvation of souls.
Session Meeting - for wisdom & guidance



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041